On the East Coast, so the story goes, newcomers are asked where they come from; on the West Coast they are asked what they do for a living; in Iowa people ask them, “How's your garden doing?” Maybe this is not a true story, but it does epitomize the importance of gardening for Iowans, blessed as they are with the rich glacial soil so hospitable to corn and soybeans. Rural and urban Iowans alike start planning next summer's garden in midwinter, when their plots are still snow-covered and deep-frozen; by state fair time their trees, shrubs, vegetables—including the ubiquitous zucchini—and flowers are thriving. Veronica Fowler's month-by-month guide to gardening in Iowa is a concise, valuable resource for all novice and experienced gardeners.
Beginning in January, Fowler presents a monthly checklist to allow gardeners to prioritize seasonal tasks. Her winter chapters focus on garden design, cold-weather gardening, and starting plants from seeds; in spring she moves into soil preparation, shopping for plants, wildflower and rose cultivation, and lawn care basics; summer brings landscaping, flowers for cutting, and organic gardening; and fall involves cold frames, winter-harvest vegetables, forcing bulbs and perennials, trees and shrubs, and ground covers and vines best suited for Iowa's climate as well as information on mail-order suppliers, gardens to visit, where to go for help, and garden club memberships. Tips from some of the more than two thousand members of the Federated Garden Clubs of Iowa round out this plentiful harvest of useful advice.
On a day in February when the wind chill is, well, chilling and the forecast calls for more of the same, the arrival of the first garden catalog of the season brings warmth to any gardener. Veronica Fowler's accessible, information-packed book will become part of every gardener's life both indoors and out.